So, here I am doing a kick-ass handstand. I am really good at it. Kidding… this is by no means me. In fact handstands don’t even happen in my dreams. I have been able to do them though. I think I was about ten and my brother and I used to whip ourselves into handstands in the basement against my Dad’s workshop door. I can’t imagine that they were graceful, but I do remember them being fun.
Truth is, I have been frequenting yoga for some time now. I did it a bit in Vancouver, but I was more concerned with losing weight and figuring out why I hated boys than I was about the phenomenal and life changing internal benefits.
While here in Toronto, I have been going to Kula Yoga in the Annex. Wow, I can not even tell you what a welcoming place it is. First of all, they offer classes that are only $8.00. Yoga is expensive, and this break in the wallet is welcomed by me and I am sure that multitude of students that live close to here.
Then, as soon as you walk in the door there is a sign that says something along these lines. “We aim to be a welcoming space and welcome all sizes and shapes. We aim to be Fat-Positive, Trans and Queer Positive, and welcome folks with all abilities.”
I try not to do the hard classes like Power and Hot Yoga. I feel I may resent yoga if I do. Instead I try to do Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Queer Yoga…. Yes that is right there is a yoga for us queer folk (not like the others aren’t welcoming, but this one is our own).
Today I went to Gentle Yoga. As always I felt great. My sciatica screamed in pain, but it was the kind of pain that hurt so good. I still don’t say Namaste because I feel it is culturally not mine, but the rest is great.
What was remarkable about today was the end. I can’t remember what the actual pose name is, but in English it is called the corpse pose. You are basically lying on the ground, breathing well, and trying to tap in to the inner soul we all have.
I felt good, relaxed, more relaxed than I have for a very long time. My mind started to drift off. I thought about random things. I turned my head to the side and immediately it reminded me of my mom. It reminded me of when I sat with her as she lay dying. I watched her breathe for 10 hours with the help of a machine. Near the end I noticed that her breath was slowing. Everyone that was there with me had left the room about 5 minutes before this. She looked peaceful. I grabbed her hand and told her that it was ok. We would all be ok. She stopped breathing. Her head tilted to the right, just like mine did. Her colour drained from her face but her hands were still warm. She looked like my mom, but she was gone. I knew that she knew that I was there. She opened her eyes about two hours before that and stared at me. I said hi. She closed her eyes soon after that. She would never open them again.
This memory made me start crying while I was in corpse pose (strange irony I know). It was a sad cry, but it was also a cry of release. I felt ok. I felt a bit like my mom was now telling me that it would all be ok.
I continued to think about why I was crying. Why this practice of yoga was doing this to me. This practice of yoga was in fact healing me. I barely cried when my mom died. I stayed strong. I grieved, but I didn’t let go. Today I was letting go. Yoga was breaking me open. It was allowing all the bad to leave. It was opening to allow me to heal again. All the shit (and I mean shit) that had happened this year is finally leaving. I am allowing myself to heal. I am raw, and sad, and hopeful. I have been gaining clarity. Things are really starting to make sense. Thank you yoga for allowing me to do that.